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Deal of the Week (Sep 12, 2008) Click here for Archives

West   North   East   South
all pass

In a match against expert opponents, your 2♠ preempt buys the contract. West leads the ♣9, his doubleton suit, and strikes gold as East takes the ace-king and returns a club for West to ruff. West now returns a diamond to dummy's ace. What now?

You have lost the first three tricks, and have the two major suit aces to lose as well. You have to hope for spades to be 3-3, and for the A to be onside. That is not all, though. Say you lead a spade to the jack and West's ace. West will lock you in dummy by playing a diamond, leaving you to choose your own poison; you can lead a heart away from the king (East knows enough about the hand to rise with the Q), or you can lead a club and inflict a trump promotion against yourself!

You can avoid this scenario by cashing the other diamond honor before leading a trump to the jack. You do have one final hurdle to cross though - when West leads a heart, you should rise with the king (you have no reason to change your plan of playing West to hold the A; furthermore, holding the Q, there is no reason for West to lead a heart; he will simply play a diamond and wait for his side to score two heart tricks).

 A107 Deal  983
 A95  Q102
 Q9874  10653
 94  AK7

The maneuver of cashing the K before leading a spade is an extension of the dentist's coup, since you are extracting a card from dummy that otherwise would have allowed West to find a play that would benefit him.

At the point where the problem was posed, Bridge Baron's double dummy solver confirms that cashing the other diamond honor is necessary before playing a spade. The double dummy solver points out that the hand can be defeated - which is outlined in the next section.

Bridge Baron's Line of Play
Bridge Baron performs incredibly well on this deal - it finds the winning line of play with incredible ease. More significantly, when Bridge Baron is made to defend the hand, it finds the ♣9 lead from the West hand (a club lead is required to beat the contract). It wins the ♣K at trick one in the East chair, and makes the beautiful and counterintuitive return of a trump, which is again the only move to beat the contract. This play has the effect of removing dummy's trump, so that declarer does not have a chance to perform the Dentist's Coup maneuver. West captures declarer's ♠J with the ♠A, and plays a club to East's ace and scores a club ruff after all, and then plays a diamond to lock the lead in dummy, subjected declarer to the familiar dilemma of having to choose between leading a heart from the wrong hand or inflicting a trump promotion upon himself.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal, where both sides are vulnerable, is 2 by East-West.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1283-96557-00386-57427-29254-85777

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
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